"Extracted places in transition": a REXSAC-MinErAL seminar in the Swedish Actic

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December 15 2022

Between October 3 and 8, 2022, as part of a travelling seminar in the Swedish Arctic, professors Thierry Rodon, Sophie Thériault and Arn Keeling, doctoral students Sabrina Bourgeois, Louise Nachet, Caitlynn Beckett and Zoé Boirin-Fargues, and Chief Réal Mckenzie had the opportunity to discuss the challenges that extractive industries pose for Arctic communities. This seminar was a follow-up to a summer school on mining towns in transition that took place in the Canadian North in 2019, which also brought together participants from the international research networks MinErAL and REXSAC.

The seminar included a series of presentations, field trips and meetings with local actors. Participants visited abandoned and transitional mining towns (Laver, Laisvall, Laisdalen, Malmberget, Nautanen, Kiruna), as well as abandoned mining sites (e.g. Nautanen) and sites in the process of revitalization (e.g. Laisvall). They also visited the Harsprång hydroelectric station, a dam and a site impacted by this type of activity on the river Lule.

In Arjeplog, Malin Brännström, Sámi lawyer and director of the Silvermuseet Museum, discussed the rights of Sámi reindeer herders in Sweden and the issues they face, while in Jokkmokk, the visit to the Ajtte Sami Museum gave the participants the opportunity to learn more about the Sámi culture and traditional way of life. During their stay in Kiruna, they met with Nina Eliasson, Head of Planning Development of the City of Kiruna, who explained the challenges and opportunities of relocating part of the city to allow for the expansion of the mining activities of the company LKAB. This was followed by a tour of LKAB's underground mine, where one of the communications managers, Anders Lindberg, shared the company's plans for expansion and energy transition, before rounding off the tour with an overview of the region's mining history.

To get an overview of the different visits made during this seminar, consult Louise Nachet's logbook!